A nearly two-decade-old peace agreement that ended Tajikistan’s civil war is quickly unravelling and threatening to plunge Central Asia’s poorest country back into violence, a new report warns.
A ban by the government of hard-line President Emomali Rahmon on the opposition Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) has caused growing concern both within and outside the country.
In its January 11 report, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said: “Given its problems, Tajikistan should be a conflict-prevention priority for the international community … The 1997 peace agreement masked rather than resolved tensions after a brutal civil war … and is unravelling.”
Rahmon’s 20 year rule has been marred by corruption, violence, and economic tumult, while security in the country – which shares a 1,400km-long border with Afghanistan – is increasingly deteriorating, the report said.
Ever since a peace agreement ended a five-year civil war in 1997, Rahmon’s government has cracked down on both religious and political opposition in the country, and in December, Tajik lawmakers voted to give Rahmon the title “Leader of the Nation”, granting him and his family lifelong immunity from prosecution.
But problems continue to arise in the mostly Muslim nation of 8.2 million people.
Mahmudjon Faizrahmonov, an IRPT spokesman, told Al Jazeera that renewed unrest appears to be on the horizon.
“We expect the situation to get worse,” he said. “The undemocratic policies of President Rahmon will move the country towards violence. There are extremist parties across the border in Afghanistan. Rahmon’s undemocratic policies play into their hands, but we reject violence.”
Religious repression is also causing security concerns. Reports indicate that hundreds of Tajiks have left and joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters.
- Pray for Tajikistan, a country still struggling to recover from civil war that destroyed its infrastructure.
- Pray for the Tajik government, especially the President, as he holds most of the power in the country. Pray that he and his government will seek to govern with justice, honesty and integrity.
- Pray for the Tajik church and believers. Freedom of worship is not permitted in Tajikistan and many Christians live in fear of persecution and imprisonment. Pray for courage, faith and also for good resources for discipleship and mentoring of believers.
- Pray for peace in this country, for a resolution to the tensions that threaten this peace, and for healing and hope for the future.
Zechariah 9 vs 10: ” … and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”